Police arrested 26-year-old Brandon Joel Dennehy on Thursday after a man reported being threatened with a gun when he gave a ride to a man and woman he did not know in Wetaskiwin.
In a news release, police allege Dennehy and Charmaine Cheralee Louis-Crier, 40, forced the man and his male passenger to drive to Edmonton, Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin on Feb. 11. At around 9:20 p.m., one passenger was able to flee. The suspects then took off with the truck with the other man still inside.
The truck, a red 2011 Chevrolet Colorado, was recovered at a Maskwacis home the next morning. The second passenger was located unharmed the following day. Wetaskiwin RCMP arrested the two suspects Feb. 13 and are asking anyone who saw the vehicle on Feb. 11 to contact them.
Dennehy and Louis-Crier are facing around two dozen counts and are jointly charged with seven offences: extortion with a firearm, theft of vehicle, weapons possession and two counts each of kidnapping with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, uttering threats and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
‘Ashamed and remorseful’
Dennehy pleaded guilty last year to a Feb. 24, 2018, robbery at Millet Liquor, a family-owned store on the rural town’s main street. Dennehy admitted to taking a bottle of liquor, some beer, and demanding cash from the store clerk while holding a spray can. He was in the middle of a methamphetamine and alcohol binge and had not slept for eight days.
In a sentence that focused largely on rehabilitating the accused, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Nicholas Devlin gave Dennehy time-served following a 242-day stay in remand. In his Nov. 7, 2019 decision, Devlin said Dennehy’s case “exemplifies the dynamic that brings an otherwise proud and capable Indigenous man” before the courts. He noted Dennehy was “ashamed and remorseful” even while committing the crime: before leaving the store, Dennehy asked the clerk for a hug and apologized.
“But for the traumas and dysfunctions that have flowed from his Indigenous experience, Mr. Dennehy would most likely never have been in contact with the criminal justice system,” Devlin said.
One week after the sentencing, Dennehy was arrested a second time and accused of stealing a sweater from the Wetaskiwin Canadian Tire. Police charged Dennehy with six offences: robbery, uttering threats, impersonating a peace officer and three breaches of probation/recognizance.
Dennehy denied those charges in an interview last month.
“Why would I go steal a sweater?” he told Postmedia in an interview from the Edmonton Remand Centre, echoing Devlin by noting his previous offence was driven by his addiction and that he was sober at the time.
Dennehy said he went into the Wetaskiwin Canadian Tire when his girlfriend’s adult daughter failed to emerge after about an hour. He said she ran out of the store with a sweater, which set off a security alarm.
“I didn’t know she was stealing,” said Dennehy. He was arrested a few hours later while he and his girlfriend were out searching for the daughter. Officers allegedly found pepper spray in the vehicle.
Dennehy was granted bail on those charges on Jan. 28. (Dennehy’s girlfriend’s daughter was also charged with robbery. Court records show she pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of theft under $5,000 on Jan. 14 and received 18 months probation.)
Dennehy is now also charged with eight counts of failure to comply with release conditions from the Feb. 11 carjacking. He remains in custody pending bail. He and Louis-Crier are set to appear in Wetaskiwin provincial court on Feb. 18.
Dennehy’s trial in the sweater-related case is set to begin June 29 in Wetaskiwin.
— With files from the National Post